One day, we are driving and chatting, so I feel I can try and get to know him a bit better.
"So whereabouts do you live?" I ask. "I’ve never been able to get a fix on you."
"Here and there, really," he says, sounding a bit shifty,
"What could that even mean?" I ask, crinkling my brow.
He sighs, and sits silent for a while.
"Okay," he says. "Right, okay. But you have to keep this secret. Not because I'm ashamed, but if it's not kept quiet, the whole thing falls down surprisingly quickly. The thing you need to know about me, is I'm addicted to women."
"I really am though. I don’t mean that as a joke, and I don’t mean sex. Well, not just sex. I'm addicted to having girlfriends."
"Sure, okay," I say, not really knowing what he means.
"So I always have about four girlfriends. And I’m always looking for another."
"Four girlfriends?" I laugh.
"Yes, secretly. And I live with them. At different times."
"What?" I say, getting exasperated"
"Right, I’ll explain it slowly and simply. I currently have four girlfriends, none of whom know about the other. I live with two of them, and am less seriously involved with the other two but stay with them whenever I can. I have a horrid bed sit somewhere for bills and occasional sanctuary. A version of it started in the army; always making sure that wherever you were in the world, you always had comfort and sex available. It was a necessity then, but it became more of a lifestyle once I was a civvie again. I’ve not been single for fifteen years, and never gone for more than a couple of months with just the one partner."
There is a silence for a minute or so.
"How…" I start, but struggle to know where exactly it is I want to start. "How do you have the time?"
"It's this job, isn't it? I live with one for one week, and then say I have to go off somewhere for a week – can't say where and all that – and then move in with the other. And then repeat, with nights away here and there to see the other two."
"And the best thing? When they get a week with me, they really appreciate it and think they should be grateful."
He looks at me.
"You don't believe me, do you?"
I shrug, shaking my head.
"Want to meet them?"
To be continued